RAFAH, Egypt (AP) – Egypt discovered a weapons-smuggling tunnel under its border with Gaza on Friday, a move likely to please Israel which has long accused the Egyptians of failing to stop the flow of arms to Palestinian militants.

Egyptian security officials said the tunnel began in the bedroom of Raed Seif Barhoum, an Egyptian of Palestinian origin who lives in northeast Sinai.

Barhoum, who is under arrest, has confessed to using the tunnel to smuggle weapons and explosives into Gaza, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

The tunnel finished last month ran 700 yards and emerged in the Gaza house of Barhoum’s relatives, the officials in this north Sinai town quoted the man as telling his interrogators.

Security officials confiscated $13,000 and some automatic rifles from Barhoum’s house. Police also arrested an alleged partner of Barhoum, who was found with 440 pounds of TNT, the officials said.

After long rejecting Israel’s allegations that it was not doing enough to stop weapons smuggling, Egypt recently said it would make a greater effort to crack down on the trafficking.

Egypt is concerned that Palestinian militant violence in Gaza could spill over to Sinai, where the Cairo government has its own problem with Islamic extremists.

The security officials said the tunnel would be destroyed soon, either by flooding it with water or by blowing it up.


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